BEAVERTON, Ore. -- An Oregon man has overcome the odds to become a nationally-ranked wheelchair fencer.

Leo Curtis, 45, started fencing 18 months ago. Curtis was injured by an IED in Iraq in 2004.

In the last 8 years, I've had about 29 surgeries getting put back together, Curtis said during a training session at PDX Fencing.

His recovery was long and difficult. Curtis said he fell into depression and didn't even want to leave home. His son became interested in fencing and his wife told Leo he needed to come with him.

He basically gave me an ultimatum. That tough love really saved my life. I really believe that, he said.

Fencing coach Charles Randall asked if Curtis had heard of wheelchair fencing. He hadn't but decided to give it a try.

Curtis is a national champion, has traveled to world fencing and has lost more than 100 pounds.

Getting me to here reset my computer because now I've got goals. I've got aspirations. Before I could care less, he said.

One of his goals is to make the 2016 paralympic team that will compete in Rio. He's also trying to spread the word about wheelchair fencing.

Sunday and Monday he'll put on exhibitions at the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships at the Oregon Convention Center.

Read or Share this story: